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Live Beautiful | Courtney Kirkland: January 2010

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Live Beautiful | Courtney Kirkland

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Live Beautiful | Courtney Kirkland: January 2010

Live Beautiful | Courtney Kirkland

January 30, 2010

My Favorite Things [Giveaway!!]

{Updated February 8, 2010}
 Congratulations to Commenter #36.........
Juliana from "A Blonde Walks into a Blog!"
----------
Thanks so much to everyone who participated!
This was so much fun and I've already got Giveaway #2 in the works!
I hope those of you who came to follow on account of the giveaway will stick around and continue to explore "Make Me a Blessing." Tell you're friends about me and help me reach 200 followers for another Fantastic Giveaway!


I'll be honest with you. I'm not a very materialistic person. I admit that I used to be. Before I got married and had a baby and realized that "things" really aren't all that they are cracked up to be. There is still that inside part of me that enjoys splurging on a pair of shoes. Or a new handbag. The inner "diva" in me could browse and shop for diamond jewelry every single day. And should I ever receive some giant inheritance or hit the lottery {which I won't, because I don't play and none of my family is rich}, I would buy myself a BMW or a Range Rover. I wouldn't be able to stop myself. I mean who wouldn't want to cruise around in this?

Belive me. There are two people in this house with a soft spot for these little babies. Anywho. I'm getting off track. Excuse me a secong while I wipe the drool from my face.  Ok. I'm back. Like I was saying. "Things" don't really mean much to me. I am a sucker for the small things. The sweet text messages my husband sends me on occasion to let me know that he loves me and is thinking about me. The way that my beautiful little boy grins at me and holds his hands up in the mornings when I come to get him out of bed. The smell of coffee. The yumminess of a Starbucks Frappacino. And there are a few 'things' that make me smile, too.

Mod Podge

Super Cute Notebooks & Journals


Pretty Scrapbook Paper {to go along with my mod-podging of course!}


Pretty Picture Frames...especially ones that are homemade. Like these.

Metal Free Elastic Hairbands

Colorful Gel Inkpens

Starbucks. Of course.


Nicholas Sparks Novels
My Droid Eris

So. All this being said, WHY am I telling you this? Because THESE items {well some of them} are what I'm giving away for my VERY FIRST GIVEAWAY!! Go ahead. Get excited. I know these are pretty cool items that everyone would like to win.

On Saturday, February 6, I will be giving away:

One pack of Scrapbook paper, One super cute journal, One pack of colored gel pens, a pack of metal free hair bands, one excessively cute picture frame, A bottle of Mod Podge [winners choice of what kind], Winners choice of Paperback Nicholas Sparks Novel, and a Starbucks Giftcard. {Sorry. I love you guys and all, but I can't afford to giveaway a Droid Eris.} Sound like a pretty sweet little gift pack?

Now. The RULES for entry:
  • Follow my Blog Publicly or let me know that you already do. {1 Time Entry: MANDATORY}
  • Follow me on Twitter {1 Time Entry}
  • Subscribe to my blog via Feed {1 Time Entry}
  • Follow my Blog via Facebook Network Blogs {1 Time Entry}
  • Tweet This Giveaway {You can tweet this once a day every day for additional daily entries}
  • Vote for me by clicking on the "Top Mommy Blog" button and let me know you voted {You can vote once a day every day for additional daily entries}
  • For 3 extra entries, you can blog about your favorite things and link to this giveaway.
Please leave me a comment for each entry every time you do one so I can keep count. No anonymous entries...for obvious reasons. If you blog or tweet this, make sure that you leave me the link so I can check it out! I'll draw for the winner via random.org and notify the winner on Saturday Evening via Email-so make sure that I have that too!

Love you guys and I'm so excited to give my "prize" to one of you wonderful followers. You guys rock!
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January 29, 2010

5 Question Friday

My Little Life

It's Friday. Thank goodness. While this week seems to have gone by pretty quickly, I will admit that I am super glad to see the weekend. Hubby is off for 3 days, we're getting our new couch and loveseat this weekend and I'm making a run {all by my self} to pick up some Giveaway items and stock up on crafting supplies. Now, if that darn paycheck would just drop in the bank... Anywho. I'm linking up today for "5 Question Friday" with Mama M over at My Little Life. Always a fun way to meet new people, post a blog when you're being lazy and have nothing else to write and answer a few questions. Today the questions are:

1. Would you ever vacation alone? Hmmm. I doubt it. I'm not much on being alone, so I'm pretty sure I'd have to bring someone with me. I'm not there on the mature factor level. I don't even go in restaurants to eat alone. Even when I'm out having a "me" day. I go through drive-thrus because I don't want to appear to be some loner who has no company. Sad. I know...

2. Do you go the speed limit? Sure. Doesn't everyone? LOL Not. I go the speed limit, actually under the speed limit, through neighborhoods and school zones where I know there are kids, but usually everywhere else, I tend to run 5 or 10 miles over. I know, I know. I'm a bad citizen and all that, but we aresupposed to be honest, right?

3. Why did you start blogging/following blogs? I started blogging intially so that our family that lived far away could keep up with us and with what Noah was doing. Then I discovered the realm that is the "mommy blogger world" and started following other stay at home moms who were going through the same things I was. I found that blogging was not only a creative outlet for me and my writing, but also a way to meet new moms who were entertaining children all day. And now, I'd consider myself an addict.

4. Where do you shop for yourself? Charlotte Russe {is that how you spell it?}, American Eagle on occasion {when they have something I like}, Forever 21 {when I have time to sift through their stuff} and Victoria's Secret. I really don't shop for myself that much. Honestly. I don't.

5. What was the song that you danced your first dance with your spouse to at your wedding...or...what song would you like your first dance to be to? We were going to dance to "Lost in this Moment" by Big & Rich but we had a lot of...ahem...older people at our wedding who got restless and ready to leave, so we kind of skipped that part and went straight to eating cake and throwing the bouquet and stuff. {It didn't have anything to do with the fact that hubby and I were ready to leave and begin our honeymoon....not at all.}Not a big deal. We plan to renew our vows after 15 years or so and we'll do it then.

Alright everyone. There ya' go. My post for today. I'm babysitting a girlfriends 3 year old daughter {and taking care of our child} today, so you're lucky to have gotten this. I'm learning what life is like with 2 kids. Fun stuff. :) Have a great day everyone!
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January 28, 2010

Photo Editing plus some Brain Dumping

I'm linking several random things in this post today rather than doing a bunch of different posts. That way you don't have to scroll down a ways to read everything. See...I can be helpful :)

First, I'm linking up today with Monica over at Pixel Perfect Blog for some fun photo editing. If you've never been over to her 'place' I encourage you to stop by because she's fantastic! And she has the most adorable little boy, too. We are supposed to take a picture post it as is and then post our edits. So...here ya go:


{Original Photo Straight from my camera}


{Edit #1}
[You may not be able to tell, but I did sharpen, crop and blur this picture. I even enhanced the football and the "Tonka" logo on his shirt. Look any different? Maybe not...]


{Edit #2}

So...yeah. There ya go. They aren't fantastic but I'm learning. Plus, I'm using the freebie: Paint.net to edit my photos. When I get my new camera in the next few days, I'm going to try to sweet talk my husband into letting me get Photoshop. That way I'll have all of the tools in my arsenal for some kick butt photos of my kick butt little man. :) So excited. I've spent my morning looking at cameras online and reading photography tutorials. I can't wait to get started. I hope you guys like looking at photos because I'm afraid you'll be doing a lot of that pretty soon. And looking at crafts. Because I've got LOADS of ideas for decorating, too.

I'm thinking of getting started with something simple-coasters. We've had the same ol' boring, plain Jane coasters since we got married and I'm tired of them. They're really quite ugly and I can't believe that I actually picked them out. They are off white and have a tan "K" on them. Blah. I'm going to the craft store to find some tiles and some fabric or scrapbook paper to make my own. And then I'll embelish it with my choice of "K." Haha. And I'll photograph every step for ya'll to read about. My next project is the BIG one: The Family Rules Canvas. I'm still gathering my rules and I'm pretty sure it's going to take me a little while to pick out my paper for the canvas, but I'm super excited.

I'm also wanting to do my kitchen in a coffee theme, so I'm going to probably make some of my own canvas' or wooden signs to hang up. I want to make something for my front door, and some decorative art for my living room and our bedroom. Looks like I am going to be busy crafting it up and snapping photos. Hope I can keep up. I've also been reading about how to Mod-Podge old furniture that you're bored with and I have this really tacky little book case that we're using in the living room right now that is just dying for a makeover. I can't wait. I'm so pumped. I always knew I had an inner craftiness gene, it's just taken 20-something years for it to make it's debut. {My grandmother was Susie Crafts Alot when she was alive...if she saw it and liked it, she figured out how to make it. My mom quilts, crochets, needlepoints, scrapbooks and is a crazy good photographer. I never got into sewing and stuff, but my sister did and she's really good at it too. Plus, she's showing real potential in photography. And my dad, well, lets just say that he should have taken up drafting and wood-work. The things he's made are unbelievable.}

So....yeah. There ya' go. Another totally random mind dump for ya'll today. Sorry. I know this isn't the usual stuff that I post about, but I just don't have it in me right now. My creative tank is on overload, but it's all dumping into the 'craft' category instead of the 'writing' one. I have something planned to post tomorrow. I'm hoping that Little Man will nap long enough to let me get this posted and start on what I want to post tomorrow. But seeing as how I can hear him sitting in his crib talking to himself, that's not likely to happen. Oh well. Time for me to climb my lazy rear end off the couch and fix lunch. I have come down with a nasty little head cold the past 2 days and I feel almost like death. Headache, sore throat, sinus issues. I have managed to get up and shower this morning, though I threw on some clean PJ's and I'm laying on the couch. No biggie. My plans for the evening consist of supper [something that requires zero effort...meaning frozen or takeout] and watching Saw VI with the husband. Love his 3 day weekends-especially when they are possibly going to involve shopping. For me. Cough Cough. :) Kidding.

Okay. Little man is starting to whine. Time for me to go. Hope you all have a fantastic Thursday! YAY for almost the weekend!

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January 27, 2010

Cluster of thoughts...

Good morning, friends! My mind is in about 10,000 different places this morning and I needed an outlet to put all of my thoughts on 'paper.' {Lucky for you!} While this will be a totally random post, there are a lot of ideas here and things that you can look forward to seeing on my blog in the next few weeks.

Our income tax is on its way. It should be here on the 5th of February. {Yeah, it's early!! We filed with Turbo-tax and voila! A 2-weeks MAX wait time to get your refund. Love it.} I have finally nagged, pleaded and begged talked my sweet husband into letting me get some furniture for the bedroom [yes. We have ZERO furniture...] and we are buying a used but nice couch from some friends from church.  What does all of this mean? MAKEOVER. I moved and rearranged living room furniture yesterday and I can't wait to get the new stuff in here to see what it looks like. {Don't worry. There will be a LOT of before and after photos for you to peruse over.}

When I started moving things yesterday, I realized that I am in need of some serious new wall decor in my house. I mean, the entire house. Most of what we have I threw together very quickly when we first moved to Florida 2 years ago to give our crappy apartment an "at home" feel. The new place we moved into last year is so much nicer and I am in need of some nicer art. But I don't want to spend the money on the expensive stuff. So.......I have a big future planned for myself and the Mod-Podge. I have found several insanely cute and crafty things that I want to make for our house that won't cost much. Just the cost of the supplies and the time. Which is something that I have plenty of. I will be taking down a lot of the photos in our living room and replacing them with the new stuff and I can't wait to show you what all I've got in mind. {*Don't worry....I'll document all of it and include some tutorials for those interested*}

Which brings me to my next point-I am a mere days away from getting a new camera. Something I have been dreaming about for several months now. This will be my first Digital SLR camera and I'm a bit terrified. I'm a fast learner, so its not that big of a deal. But I'm pretty sure I will be purchasing this:


I'm not ashamed. LOL I know absolutely NOTHING about photography. Really, I have no clue. I can edit photos all day long on the computer, but I know nothing about lighting and angles and all of that fun stuff. But I will learn. Especially now that I have a child of my own and really can't afford to pay someone to follow him around all the time to take pictures of him when he's being cute. And, fortunately for all of you you will get to follow along as I learn. {And look at lots and LOTS of random pictures.} I've always wanted to be able to take really awesome photos, so this is one of my big projects for the upcoming year. I'm debating between a Nikon and a Canon and have no idea which one to get. My mom has a Canon Rebel and it always took great photos, but a friend at church has a Nikon and her work is AMAZING. {Those of you who do photography, please provide your much needed input in the comment section. Pretty please!}

I am going to work on my Family Rules Canvas this weekend. I haven't made the trip to the Craft Store yet to even purchase the items to get started. But I will. On Friday. Payday. Using my 50% off coupon that came in the Sunday Paper. Plus, Joanne's has their canvas' on sale this week 50% too. Hubby is going to help me come up with some family rules this week. We've looked a some online and I have a handful that I really like, it's just a matter of picking the rest and getting it done. Little man's newfound sleep patterns should make that fairly simple. He's been sleeping past 8:00 every morning-usually till atleast 8:30 and then hitting the sack again about 10:00 for 2 or 3 hours. I think he's getting ready to hit a growth spurt because he's eating non-stop and sleeping. And I've read lots of books that say that kids tend to sleep a little more when they are growing. Or it could just be because when he's awake, he runs. Non Stop.

He's also found a new love for football. I guess us Crimson Tide folks just start them young. He acutally took a nap with his football yesterday. I couldn't get him to put it down to go get in the bed. He tried to drag it to the shower yesterday too, and when I wouldn't let him he pitched a God awful fit. Two nights ago, I put him to bed about 8:00ish and he woke up at 9:30 and wanted to play. Football. It's nuts. He's so cute though. It makes him happy and I guess that's all that matters. I already had in my mind that when we moved again I was going to decorate his room in Footballs & Baseballs, so I guess that will work out perfectly. Considering his sudden love for it.


Oh well. I birthed a boy and boy he shall be. OH. Remember the Giveaway I promised all of you I would do when I hit 100 followers? Yeah, I haven't forgotten about that. I know what I want to giveaway, I just haven't gotten it together yet. I'm really excited about it and I'm pretty sure you all will be too. Payday is Friday and I'm going to try to get it all together then. That way I can introduce it to ya'll on Monday and run the giveaway for about a week. So excited!

Ok. I guess that is all for now. I woke up with a nasty little sinus headache and a sore throat this morning. So I will be lounging on the couch most of the day. I rearranged furniture and cleaned up my house yesterday, so I think I'm entitled to do nothing if I want to. Plus, I'll have to clean again anyway when we bring in the new furniture this weekend, so why over exert myself? Hope you all have a great Hump Day!
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January 25, 2010

Worth fighting for...

I've been thinking alot about marriage lately.

Maybe it's because it's drawing nearer to mine and hubby's anniversary {ok, so it's not until April, but still}. Maybe it's because I'm blissfully happy in my marriage right now and I want to stay that way. Maybe it's just because I'm a woman and I'm allowed to think about marriage. No matter, the sanctity of the wedding vows and the light-heartedness that goes into it these days frustrates me.

I think back to when I was a little girl and used to watch the fairy tale princess movies...there was a picture perfect ideal set for what I wanted my future to be like. I would marry a man that would sweep me off of my feet and we would live happily ever after. Never did I ever about the fact that maybe my marriage wouldn't last. That's not what little girls think about.

And as a grown and married woman now, that's not the kind of thing that I think about. About my marriage ever ending. About the vows that I took on April 19, 2008 not really meaning anything. That they would hold up through all of the good times, but as soon as things got rocky that I would head for the door and throw in the towel. Hubby and I had a good long talk about divorce before we said the "I do's." We decided then and there that we would work through the hard times and that we wouldn't give up on our marriage. And I think that's the glue that holds us together.

Marriage is hard. I've said that time and time again. God's standards for marriage and the ones that society sets forth are completely diferent. Society says that it's okay to leave your spouse whenever you feel like it. If you get bored with what you've got, then it's okay to trade them in for someone else just because you can. Take Tiger Woods for example. Or Brad Pitt. Or Jon Gosselin. All married men, two of them had kids, and they just up and left. Just because they found a new woman {or several women...} that they thought would bring them something better. And it's not just celebritties. It's every day people too. Family, friends, neighbors...every time you turn around.

When Hubby & I first got married, my scared insecure little girl side used to freak out and worry that I was going to be one of those women. Not because of anything that my husband did, but just because it seemed like the norm. You stay married for a while, something better comes along, and then you divorce. But I tell ya', God's plan is totally and completely different. It took a while {and by a while I mean over a year} to allow God to heal me of that fear. To heal me of the worry and the pain that was my past and let go of the lies that I had believed for so long. It took a lot of reasurance from my wonderful husband to convince me that the garbage that was in my head was just that-in my head.

Hubby and I have learned to let go of things that hurt us and cause one another pain. We've learned to see past the social stigma that there is on marriage and together we have decided to have a marriage like God intended. We encourage one another, we pray for one another, we share responsibilities and help each other out. God is teaching me how to be the kind of wife that my husband deserves and he's showing us together how to have the kind of marriage that glorifies him. We aren't perfect. We still get frustrated with one another...sometimes more than once a day. But never, have I ever even thought about finding someone else. Nor do I want anyone else. I don't understand these husbands and wives that tear their marriages and their families apart for the sake of their own selifishness.

Sorry. Guess I got up on my soap-box this morning, but this was just on my heart. And I know there are a lot of women who read my blog that feel the same way about their husbands. Women who love their husbands more today than they did the day that they got married. Women who pray for their husbands and who strive every single day to be the kind of wives that God calls them to be. Women who fight and will always fight to have the kind of marriage they deserve and that God wants. "Love's not a fight, but it's something worth fighting for." You'll have to excuse me now...I'm going to text my husband and tell him how much I love him. Then I'm going to lay out something to fix him for supper.

Happy Monday!

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FMM-Daybook

Friend Makin' Monday & The Simple Woman's Daybook...
{all in one post!}


Outside my window...The sun is trying to peek out from behind the clouds, but it's breezy and very overcast. I think it is supposed to be kind of nasty this afternoon. It stormed last night.

I am thinking...how much I am enjoying and loving God's word right now! I'm on one of those "I can't get enough" highs and I am loving every minute of it!

I am praying...for continued Peace & understanding in certain areas. Praying for God's will, specifically when it comes to this coming year and the possibility of a move at some point.

I am thankful... for our church family. We have made some wonderful friends that encourage us and lift us up when we need it.

I am reading... "Three" by Ted Decker. A friend let me borrow it and I'm really enjoying it. I haven't gotten as far into as I would like to be because we've been so busy, but I'm hoping to get some serious reading done this week.

I am creating...Well, I haven't actually started on it yet, but I'm going to start working on our "Family Rules" tonight or tomorrow with some girlfriends. I can't wait to get started and show you guys what it looks like :)

From the kitchen...hmmm. Since I know we aren't going anywhere tonight, I'm actually going to cook. I'm thinking maybe burgers. Or shrimp & fries.

Around the house...everything is technically clean but there is a lot of junk that needs to be picked up and put away. Namely, just some toys and clothes that have ended up strewn everywhere over the course of the weekend.

One of my favorite things...when I go to get Little Man out of his bed in the mornings and he holds his arms up and smiles at me and says "Mama!" Melts my heart every single time.

A few plans for the rest of the week...not much that I know of. I'm having a friend over tomorrow night for some crafting. Church on Wednesday night, and I think that's all other than church again on Sunday. But who knows. That's usually up in the air until the last minute. :) Oh, and I will once again be re-doing my blog. Haha. Time for a change again. I'm bored with it.

Head on over to {aefilkins} to link up for Friend Makin' Monday!

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January 22, 2010

I've been out...

I haven't deserted you.

I swear. This week has been insanely busy, and I've hardly slowed down long enough to get to the computer. We started our End Times Prophecy Conference at church last Sunday morning and it ran through Wednesday night. Last night, Hubby went to help out with the Upward Basketball Practice & play basketball with some of the guys, and I had some girlfriends over for pizza and girl talk. And then tonight, we went to the church to help the Youth get ready for their Yard Sale tomorrow. So we have been at church every night this week for atleast an hour or two. Not that I'm complaining....I love being at church and around our churh family. I always look forward to going and leave in the best moods.  There is nothing better than being around good friends and learning the word of God or fellowshipping.

Anywho. I have also taken somewhat of a break from the computer this week. I started analyzing how I was spending my time during the day and realized that I was putting way more time into the computer than I was into spending time and playing with Little Man or reading my Bible. So, I toned it down a notch and haven't really picked the computer up during the day. I turn it on in the mornings long enough to check my Facebook, update my Twitter, and read your blogs. And if I have anything immediate to post, I post it. I'm working on getting a schedule for my blog time set up so I can gaurantee a new post for all of you lovely readers every day of the week. But, I have decided that I am going to stop posting on weekends. That way I can spend my time with my family...unless: something immediate that I feel is necessary comes up or Hubby has duty and is gone all day.

God is also showing me that he wants me to use my blog as a ministry tool. I've received ALOT of encouraging and uplifting comments and emails lately from people who read my posts and feel inspired and encouraged by my writing. That is truly a humbling thing for me...to know that someone is connecting with my through my writing and I have spent a lot of time thanking God for this opportunity. He's really been showing me that, while this isn't like writing a book or anything, that I do have a gift and an opportunity here to do his work through my writing. I'm still going to keep writing about my family and posting pictures and such of Little man, as well as posting my recipes and crafts and stuff like that. But in everything that I write, no matter what the subject matter or the topic, I want to write to bring honor to HIM. And in the past day or two, after my post about the United States in Bible Prophecy post, I have already lost THREE blog followers. Which, initally discouraged me. But I'm not going to stop writing what God places on my heart to write about. I'm not going to do anything differently just because someone didn't like it {not that I even know if that was the case or not, but just saying}. God's given me this ability to write, so I can atleast glorify him through it.

Anywho. I have two blog awards to post and give away, but I don't have the links of the lovely ladies that gave them to me accessable right this second, so I will post those tomorrow or Monday. ALSO those of you who emailed me for notes that I took on the Prophecy Conference- I haven't forgotten you! I promise I am going to get those typed up and emailed out. I'm working on copying my notes from my scratch paper that I use during church to my Journal where I expand on the sermon and add my own notes as we speak, so as soon as I get done with that, I will email them. I want to make sure they are good and complete so that you don't get snagged on any holes in my note taking.

Like I said last time, thank you to those of you who are so loyal and so encouraging! I know I can't return every single comment, but please don't think that I don't read them or appreciate them, because I do. :) Your words and thoughts are what keep me writing and I love knowing that you all understand where I'm coming from. You guys mean so much to me, and I hope that you will continue to stick around.

Right now, I'm getting ready to throw on my PJ's and study some more notes. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend if I don't make it back here until Monday. Right now, I leave you with a few photos from the weekend of my sweet little man and his daddy playing football at the park:







I told you he loves to play ball! And he loves his daddy. That much is a fact. :)




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January 20, 2010

The US in Bible Prophecy


I'll be honest with you...
I don't generally blog about church sermons. For one, I'm not a preacher. No where near it. And I don't like to blog about sermons because they are so much more effective when you get to hear the whole thing rather than reading my notes. I'll admit, I am a good note taker, but still.

If you've been following me on Facebook or on Twitter, you know that we have held an "End Times Prophecy Conference" at our church this week. We have discussed the role of the nation of Israel, the part that the Islamic Religion will play in the end times, and last night we discussed and discovered exactly WHERE the United States stands in Biblical Prophecy. Let me just tell you, up front, that it is not pretty. I was intensely moved and brought to my knees last night at these revelations, and I felt compelled to share with you what we talked about. {Let me just say, all of these sermons are available at our church website under the "sermons" tab. I strongly encourage you to head over and check it out when you have some time. It's worth it. I promise.}

[This Sermon was courtesy of Mark Robinson of "Jewish Awareness Ministries]

I have always been curious as to where the US stood when it came to the End Times. We are the worlds most prosporous nation, so surely we have to have some role in the Tribulation and ultimate battle between God and Satan. I couldn't have been more wrong. According to the scriptures, the United States can not clearly be identified. So the question is, if we are the "power house" of nations, the wealthiest and most cultural of those in our world, then WHY are we not a part of the end times prophecy? The answer lies in Isaiah 47...with the story of the Fall of Babylon.

Babylon in it's day was what the United States is in ours. Wealthy, prosporous, culturally diverse and housed a strong military force. Despite being virtually indestructable, Babylon was destroyed in ONE day by the Persians. Babylon was basically cut off from the rest of the world...surrounded by a large Moat, thick walls, and large Bronze Gates and Iron bars, it was nearly impossible to access the city. Much as the United States in inaccessable to its enemies. With the Alies of Canada and Mexico to the North and South, and the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean to our East and West, as well as the Gulf of Mexico to the South, there aren't many ways to enter into our country. And much like the Babylonians, we hold the idea that we are indestructable.

In about 540 bc, the Perian Army found their way into the city. As the Babylonians were partying in their streets, the Persian King diverted the Euphrates River and literally walked into the city through the Underwater Gates. [For more on the History and downfall of Babylon, go here.] Babylon was literally destroyed in that one day. Babylon is an example of how God can and will judge the Nations that foresake him. Remember Sodom & Gomorrah?

Isaiah 47:1a describes Babylon as the "Virgin Daughter of Babylon." The term 'virgin' here is referencing the fact that not only had Babylon never been destroyed, but no major battle had ever been fought on her soil. While the United States has experienced catastrophic terrorist attacks {Pearl Harbor in 1941 and 9/11} no major battles have been fought here. Isaiah 47:1b says that Babylon will no longer be "tender and delicate" meaning that Babylon will no longer be propsporous and rich among the nations. If you read on to verse 2 it talks about the humiliation that Babylon will face when God ultimately destroys it.

So, what does Babylon have to do with the United States? There are 6 Similiarites between these 2 power house cities, and these 6 things are ultimately what brought about the destruction of Babylon.

          1. Anti-semitism: Their utter hatred toward the Jewish people. The 1990's in the United States brought about thousands of Jewish targetted Hate Crimes. Riots, Beatings, and Neo-Nazi gangs are just a few examples {Find information on Anti-Semitism in the US, click here.}

          2. National Pride: Does this sound like something the US is known for? Verse 7 of Isaiah 47 reveals the pride of the Babylonians, "...I will continue forever-the eternal Queen." Out of the mouths of many American's comes the ideaology that American can't and won't  be defeated. Many walk around with their heads high as if no harm could ever come to this country. Let's not forget how quickly things changed September 11, 2001. If anything, that should have proved that we are NOT indestructable. That we can be brought down. We can be attacked.

          3. Indulgence of Luxery & Careless Living {vs. 8} Babylon was known for its parties and luxerious lifestyles. "...lounging in your security...." Babylon was blessed with pleasures and economic security and it became their sole pursuit and passion. Much like the United States. We are all about "things" all about materialism. We've lost sight of the things that REALLY matter and seek out pleasure with stuff.

          4. Occultic Activity & Drugs: {vs. 9, 12} Babylonians used drugs for everything-sleep aides, pain relief, illegal drugs; much as we do. Take a look at the number of Pain Pill and Sleeping Pill Addicts out there. Babylon had their Atrologists, Horoscopes, and Psychic Readins much as we do now. How many Psychic Shops can you spot riding down the road? They are everywhere! And not to mention the fascination with Wicca and Witchcraft.

          5. Wickedness as a Nation: If this one isn't America, I don't know what is. All you have to do is turn on the news. Murder. Robbery. Gang Beatings. Violence Everywhere. And lets not even mention the number of abortions that take place LEGALLY in our Country. {vs. 10} Our country is evil, for lack of a better word. The morals and values that we used to hold to a standard have been replaced by violence, anger, and hate.

          6. Secular Humanism aka Atheism: The total and complete denial of God. The 'we need no one' mindset {vs. 10b}. Our movies and music and lifestyles completely dethrone Christ and his greatness. We are constantly striving to remove God from everything: our schools, our currency...America was founded on the rights to religious freedom, but you can't voice your beliefs anywhere anymore.

We have begun the process of Devolutionizing our Society {Bringing something of order, like our country, to total and complete Chaos.} We have become unthankful to God for all that he's given us {Romans 1:21} We think we have the answers to everything, tampering with DNA and Genetics {vs. 22}. The speaker even pointed out last night that in California, they are in the process of marketing Facial Cream made up of ABORTED FETUS TISSUE that is scientifically proven to reverse the aging process. It's disgusting what we have come to in our country. We also have the rise of Eastern Religions such as Hinduism and all of that Scientology garbage the celebrities support {vs. 23} No longer to we look at man in the image of GOD, but we look at GOD in the image of man. Our Society is completely breaking down.

So what happens? We are directly parallel with the lifestyle and downfalls that overtook Babylon. So what next? The Judgement of God. Romans 1 shows us that America has been being judged by God for atleast 40+ years.

          1. The Judgement of Heterosexual Fornication: {Romans 1:24} This began in the 1960's with the whole "Sexual Freedom" thing. The idea that God gave us our bodies for us to enjoy with one another. This is clearly not what God wants for us. There is a sanctity to marriage that we have strayed from severely.

          2. The Judgement of Homosexuality: {Romans 1:26-27} The 1970's were the years that the Gay Rights Movements began in America. This was also the same time that the Aids Epidemic broke out. Is it a coincidence that over 80% of the people effected by aids are homosexual. Sounds like verse 27's reference to them receiving "the due penalty for their perversions."

          3. Judgement of the Morally Depraved: {Romans 1:28-31} This needs to explanation. Pull out your bible and take a look at the characteristics God is talking about. This is America in a nutshell.

So, back to the question at hand...Why is America NOT in Biblical Prophecy?

Because God's ultimate final judgement will fall on the United States before the Tribulation begins. Or because our country becomes so desolate and destroyed that our existence is of zero importance. Turn on the TV, folks. Follow the news. There are a lot of countries out there doing everything they can to wipe out our nation. Those EMP {Electromagnetic Pulse} nuclear devices are being tested by Iran over the Caspien Sea as we speak. If they were to launch one of those over our Country, it would knock out every bit of technology we have. Everything running off of electricity would be wiped out, sending us back the 1800's. And the sad thing is, is that our "president" and his staff know about this. And they sit. Doing nothing.

It's one thing to talk about Bible Prophecy, but it's a whole different thing when someone points it out to you. When you shown what the Bible says and how it is all coming to be. I just felt it on my heart to share this this morning, because I think it's a real eye opener to what we are dealing with. We are so close to the end it's unreal. I know people say that all the time, and I'm not saying it's going to be within the next year or anything, but if you pick up your bible and READ what it has to say...really STUDY the facts on Prophecy, it's all lining up. Things are coming together to set the stage for the Return of Christ.

If this interests you at all, then I encourage you to listen to the sermons online. If you don't want to hear them online, but are interested in them, then email me and let me know. We are putting the sermons on CD and I'd be happy to get you one. Leave your comments on this. Let  me know what you think.

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

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January 19, 2010

I'll take my blessings with a side of Exhaustion, please.


I have found myself in a funk the past week or so that I am having a hard time detecting the source of. I have been ill and cranky...snapping at my poor husband for unknown reasons...letting things bother me that really shouldn't...and just dragging. All the way around. I can come up with no real reason other than the fact that I am just tired. And burnt out.

On what? I don't really know. But I'm just worn out. I feel like I am going and going and going non-stop and can't figure out how to slow down. And for the past week, I feel like I've been flying on auto-pilot. And I need to get over it. I need to snap out of it. I hate when I feel this way. It strains my marriage. It stains my parenting. It makes me even more exhausted than I already am. And it's time to get through it. When I lay down at night and start mulling over what it is that's bothering me {Don't you hate when there is something wrong, but you just can't put your finger on what it is?} God keeps throwing back in my face things of the past. Hurts, pain, rejection, negative words & actions directed at me. All of these things that have drug me down in the past, he is bringing up again.

When I really started thinking about it, I think that these things that he is reminding me of, are things that I have never really gotten over. Things that have affected [or is it effected? I never remember which is which...] me in the long run, shaped who I am, and ultimately shaped how I treat people. If I were to be really open and honest with you and with myself, I would have to tell you that I can be extremely rude. I can be downright mean. And a lot of times, I don't really mean to be. It's just something that comes out. Especially if I am having a bad day or I'm tired. Just watch out. Because that's usually when I lash out for no reason. And unfortunately, the only people that catch the fiery end of my attitude, are my husband and my son. And that upsets me. That makes me feel really awful. And I'm determined to change that.

So, as is God's usual, he decided that this morning at the crack of dawn was the time to show me what to do about it. Remember me mentioning that I have started watching Joyce Meyer in the mornings [and I mean at 6:00 am...when it's still dark outside]? Well, I turned her on this morning after my husband left while I was eating my pop-tart and she was talking about the Fruits of the Spirit. And she started talking about how we don't actually receive God's true blessings until we learn to be content and happy with what we have.

Now, don't get me wrong. Despite my sometimes crappy attitude, I am very happy with my life. I love my husband and my son more than anything in this world and I recognize the blessings God has poured out on us. But being content with myself is something I have a hard time with. I am guilty of jealousy. I am guilty of wanting what others have. I am human. And this morning Joyce rocked my boat a little bit when she made this point:

"You can't recieve God's true blessings until you are happy with yourself and what God's given you. And you can't truly love someone the way that God calls you to love them, until you first learn to love yourself."

I immediately thought of my husband and my son when I read this last part. It isn't that I don't love myself, but I don't really love myself. The way that I should. I don't appreciate myself and my talents. I don't appreciate the attributes and qualities God has blessed me with. I spend more time acknowledging everything that I'm NOT good at and that I FAIL at, rather than taking notice of the things that I do right. I allow my negative attitude about myself to trickle down into my marriage and my abilities as a mother. I allow the fact that, while I may not be working or may not be in school right now, get me down. Satan creeps in and uses that to convince me that what I'm doing is pointless and serves no purpose. And that's a lie. A big, fat lie.

So this morning, after Joyce Meyer went off, I drug myself back upstairs. It was still dark, the house was quiet. I crawled back in my bed and I cried. I let out everything that was bothering me. I cried out the 20-something years of pain, of hurt, of rejection. I let out the fears and frustrations. I let out the expectations and the disappointments. I let it go. I cried out to God right there in my room and he met me there. I fell asleep wrapped up in a blanket and in the Father's arms. I was awoken by my beautiful son and was greeted with a toothy smile and outstretched arms for his Mama to pull him out of bed. He layed there and snuggled up with my in the bed and we took a short snooze together.

When we got up and came downstairs, I was still tired. I stepped on a plastic ball and nearly rolled my ankle. And a bottle of water fell out of the refridgerator on my foot. Little man still cried because he was ready for breakfast and I wasn't moving fast enough for him. And when he got ready to lay down for a nap, his 'exhaustion' had him cranky and pitching a fit again. And you know what I realized? Life isn't PERFECT! Even with Christ by my side...even though I spent a better part of the morning in his presence, life still happens. Things still go wrong. I'm still tired. But it's a lot easier to tackle these things with him than it is to do it alone.

I feel better now. Now that I have let it out and layed it at his feet. Will these things creep up on me again? Probably. Letting go of pain is the same as forgiveness. You have to lay it down day after day after day until it's truly gone. You have to learn to chip away at the hardness that has been allowed to build up. And this morning, I grabbed my chisel. This morning I took down the first layer, as I will continue to do until it's gone. My hope is that I can let this go quickly. Or atleast be more aware of when it is getting to me. For my husbands sake and the sake of my son. They don't deserve the attitude I have given them. They deserve better. And I want to be better for them.

On a different note....

Our chuch has been holding an End Times Prophecy Conference this weekend. We had 3 sessions on Sunday, one last night and we have one tonight and Wednesday. It's pretty deep stuff. Really excellent material. If anyone is interested in my notes, please email me. However, if you would rather take your own, check out our Church Website for links to the actual sermons. You can download them and listen for free. I encourage you, if you've ever wondered about the Rapture and End Times prophecy to go have a look. These speakers KNOW their material and you will certainly be glad you checked it out.

And thanks to all of my wonderful blog friends who loyally comment on my posts. You guys rock and I love reading what you have to say. Your words of encouragement always make me smile and I very much appreciative of your support.

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January 16, 2010

Media Influence

Let's face it.

Whether we like it or not, the media is easily the most influential aspect of our society. Television, internet, "Smart Phones" and Social Networking have overwhelmed our culture and taken the mainstream society by storm. And it's not looking like it's going anywhere.

With the seemingly never-ending aray of technological advaces, it seems that we are destined to live in a culture with screens, buttons, and 'apps.' Walk through the mall or through Wal-Mart and try and keep count of how many people you pass that have their noses stuck in a screen. Or make the "mistake" of telling someone that you don't have a Facebook account, or a Twitter account, or that you don't blog. You get the sideways, "Where have you been? Why in the world not?" look. And while I grew up in the days where AOL 2.0 and Instant Messaging was 'the thing' and cell phones were as big as bricks, I too am intrigued and fascinated by the gadgets of this day. Fail to watch an episode of "American Idol" or "The Bachelor" and you will, unfortunately, be completely lost in conversations the day after the shows airing.

My husband and I were in a complete debate when switching cell phone carriers as to whether or not to use AT&T or Verizon, all on account of the fact that AT&T had the iPhone and Verizon didn't. We ended up with Verizon and nearly wrecked the car when they put out the Blackberry Storm {which was a complete bust and total waste of money, in case you were wondering}. The minute that Twitter became a sort of 'must have' advertising tool for bloggers, I created an account. I joined Facebook with bells on when it was created for college students back in 2005, and I've never looked back. I am a fan of "The Bachelor" and "America's Next Top Model." And I've even been known to watch an episode of two of "American Idol." And When I don't know the answer to something, I google it.

For many out there, this would make me a 'keeping up with the trends' kind of person. The kind of girl that has to 'follow the crowd' or lives according to the 'ways of the world' in contrast to the ways of the Christ. Someone who is being 'influenced' and maybe even 'brainwashed' by the media. I have to disagree, though I can't say that I don't understand why they would think that.

With so much trash and garbage floating around in our world, it's easy to believe that someone involved in networking and media trends could be up to no good. Reality shows like "Keeping up with the Kardashians" and "Bad Girls Club" are the epitomy of trashy television; portraying women in a very negative light. Revealing clothing, intoxication, and filthy language ooze from these shows like slime. Shows like "Jersey Shore" and "The Real World" give the idea that homosexuality is morally acceptable and that promiscuity has no consequences. Music lyrics brag of drug habits and prostituion. Profanity is termed as "slang" and generally accepted in all settings. And teenage role models such as Miley Cyrus and Lindsay Lohan are on and off of tabloid covers sporting headlines such as "Pole Dancing" and "I miss my Girlfriend!" And lets not even start the discussion on Tiger Woods and his choice of "extra-curricular activities."

We live in a time where we turn to the internet for answers, the TV news station for information, and social networking for personal contact. Gone are the days where we sit at the table and drink coffee while reading the newspaper. Days of meeting up with girlfriends at the mall to chat and catch up have been replaced by Facebook messages and 'tweets.' Rather than patching up friendships after an arguement, we choose the most painful of punishments-the "unfriend" button on Facebook. Quite frankly, it's insane.

But despite the negativity and the bouts of immorality that float around out there, social networking and media are really an essential part of our culture. One that I, and if you were brutally honest, you wouldn't want to live without. Social Networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter make communicating with distant friends and family a breeze. For my husband and I, being a military family, our families would be lost with the easy access of internet. Through facebook and twitter updates, they are able to keep track of what we are doing and where we are going {tweets}. They are able to view new photos of our son on the internet with just the click of a button. And are even able to download and save them on their computer for easy printing and framing-idealistic for first time grandparents.

We have both been able to get in touch with long lost friends we haven't talked to in ages. We have connected with former teachers, coworkers, and relatives that we didn't even know that we had...simply through facebook. I, personally, have found a string of great friends through the 'mommy-blogger' society-sharing deep conversations with people that understand, and receiving advice on everything from baby formula to sleeping habits. When my husband goes off to California for A-School this year, social technology will allow us to keep in touch. Like many of our other military men and women and their families, web-cams and Skype will allow my son to talk to his daddy from all the way across the country. My husband won't feel like he's missed as much as he would if we lacked a way to communicate.

Media is only an influence if we allow it to be. If we choose to live in accordance with what society says is okay, then we are in for a world of hurt. But we can't blame the media for our downfall. Rather, we have to turn to ourselves. To our own convictions, to our own morals, to our own values. We have to know what we believe, and we have to equip ourselves to take the stand against what we know is wrong. So what if I have facebook? So what if I tweet? So what if I blog? Does that make me any less Christian or make me any worse of a person because I enjoy social media? No. It doesn't. Because I know what I believe. I know what is right in God's eyes...and what is wrong

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January 15, 2010

Learning to be Submissive

I strive to be a good wife.

I strive to show my husband the kind of love and affection that he not only needs, but deserves. I try to be a good listener and a wife who is understanding and compassionate to the needs of her husband-no matter how big or how small they may be. I work to give my all to my husband, in all ways. At all times.

I fail. Every single day. In many, many ways. There are days that I am bitter. I snap at my husband for no reason, other than 'just because.' I ignore him when he needs to talk, I don't show him the kind of compassion he needs, and I allow petty, insignificant things to come between the two of us and the way that I should treat him. And if I fail at all of those things, then I most definitely fail at being the submissive wife.

I know we all have ideas of what being submissive means. And, in retrospect they are probably all correct. To me, being submissive is the act of purposefully and deliberately putting my husbands needs before my own. It's the decision to love him, forgive him, encourage him, and pray for him-even when I don't think he deserves it or "I don't feel like it." It's believing in him and knowing that we were meant to be together, even during the times when I think that I could possibly wring his neck. It's being there for him in every way-For better or for worse. Through good times and through bad.

I have a lot to learn about being a wife. God is teaching me so much every day about how to love my husband and bring him honor. I want so badly to be the kind of wife that my husband has "full confidence in." But it takes work. It takes the act of allowing God to move in my life, and allowing him to move my husband. I've talked about this before, but initially when I got married I thought that when I found something that needed changing in my husband, that I was the one that was supposed to change it. I was the one that was supposed to make him different. Make him do the things that I thought he needed to do. I was wrong.

This year, my goal is to learn how to be that submissive wife. How to be the kind of wife that lifts up my husband and encourages him through everything. The kind of wife he knows will take care of the home while he is away. This year, I am deciding to love my husband-no matter what. I am going to respect my husband-because that's what the LORD calls me to do. I'm going to strive for intimacy with my husband-physically, emotinoally, and spiritually. And I'm going to strive to honor and serve GOD through my marriage-because that's my desire. To bring honor and glory to God in every aspect of my life.

I read something the other day {And I'm pretty sure it was on one of the "Fresh Year, Fresh Start blogs, I just can't remember which one} that said, "Maybe God created marriage to make us more holy, rather than to just make us happy." And I believe that whole-heartedly. This year, I want to work toward that every single day. I want to embark on the journey toward spiritual intimacy with my husband and with our God. I want to be the kind of wife that he has confidence in. The kind of wife his sole purpose is to love him, cherish him, and honor him in a way that is pleasing to God. If I can do that, if I can be the kind of wife that draws him closer to Christ, then I have been successful.

Head on over to "Fresh Year, Fresh Start" to read other wives posts on their goals for 2010!

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